Universal Weather & Aviation has added integrated fuel tankering calculations to its UVflightplanner.com system. The new feature went live at last month’s Ebace show in Geneva and allows operators to decide quickly when and how they should fill tanks with fuel during a trip.
In a bid to bolster the market for alternative fuels, two of the world's largest consumers of jet-A have formed a strategic alliance: the U.S. Air Transport Association and the U.S. Department of Defense. According to ATA president James May, environmental considerations and rising prices for petroleum-based fuel motivated the agreement signed last month.
In a move hailed as a significant advance for the bio- and synthetic fuels market, the Air Transport Association (ATA) and the U.S. Department of Defense signed a strategic alliance agreement on Friday, signaling a partnership in the development and deployment of alternative aviation fuels. The two groups, which represent the vast bulk of jet fuel consumers, have a combined thirst of more than 1.5 million barrels a day.
As government and industry plan for more environmentally friendly energy sources, companies continue to invest in and research alternative fuels for aviation. The U.S. Air Force, one of the government’s largest consumers of fuel, for example, has set a goal that 50 percent of its fuel purchases be composed of domestic synthetic fuel blends by 2016, while IATA has presented a target of 10-percent alternative fuel use for its members by 2017.
The University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) was awarded a nearly $50 million six-year research grant from the Air Force to develop advanced fuels and combustion technologies. A key area in the UDRI program will be the development, validation and field testing of synthetic fuels, including biofuels from varied feed stocks.
Purdue University has received a $1.35 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to establish a new facility to test aircraft engines and develop alternative fuels. The National Test Facility for Fuels and Propulsion–which is expected to open late this year or early next–will be located at Purdue Airport in the school’s Niswonger Aviation Technology Building.
Honeywell (Booth No. 2600) has completed initial testing of renewable jet fuel on its TPE331 and TFE731 engines and an auxiliary power unit. Performance and fuel economy were comparable to typical aviation fuels, but emissions were reduced by 15 to 50 percent depending on the engine and its power setting. The biofuel blend tested was developed by UOP, a Honeywell subsidiary based in Des Plaines, Ill.
Fluctuations in the price of jet fuel during the past two years, coupled with the uncertain economy, have steered many operators and flight departments toward alternative fuel purchasing choices in an effort to reduce costs. Contract fueling programs are thus gaining popularity among business aviation operators.
In the 12 months since the last NBAA convention, most indicators show that business aviation flight hours dropped as aircraft operators and flight departments were squeezed between a shaky economy and unstable fuel prices. Those two factors resulted in reduced demand for jet fuel.
The FAA’s recent special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB: NE-09-25R1) regarding recommended safe-operating guidelines in the possible presence of the jet-fuel contaminant Fame (fatty acid methyl ester) has caused some confusion among operators. The agency is concerned that jet fuel could be exposed to Fame contamination through the use of multi-product fuel-transport systems and is taking steps to begin educating operators.